Even with the best and most spirited practitioners of arty indie-rock such as Deerhoof or Hella, it's hard to feel intimately connected. But one minute into "Beg Waves," the opening track of Ponytail's Ice Cream Spiritual, it's all tonsils, pelvis, pit-sweat, and high-fives. The young Baltimore band has a savage, spastic knack for turning screams into scream-alongs and guitar heroics into Choose Your Own Adventure tales: On the aptly titled "Celebrate The Body Electric (It Came From An Angel)," deranged yelps and choral sweetness collide with gorgeously choreographed prog detonations—a precise yet frenetic dance of dissonance that, at least in a perfect world, Robert Fripp and Mike Patton would be proud to call their lovechild. With precocity, chops, and even a playful quotation of Stevie Nicks' "Edge Of Seventeen," Ponytail has rendered Ice Cream Spiritual insidiously infectious—and bursting with an oddly tuneful virtuosity that aches to share rather than show off.
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